I recently attended the New Wilmington Mission Conference. I wish you had been there, heard what I heard, and saw what I saw, because I’m having a hard time putting the experience into words. Yet I feel I must try because what I learned there is changing my life. I’m not missionary material by any means and given my health issues, I will most likely never go on even a short-term mission trip – so why did I go to a “mission” conference? The short answer is that God was calling me to visit with Him there. This is the first time in my life that I’ve ever “been away from home.” I’ve never gone on scouting trips or away to camp or on church youth trips. So this was a really big deal for me just from the aspect of stretching my shy, introverted personality beyond my comfort zone every minute for a week amongst hundreds of strangers. I admit that I had some trouble the first couple of days figuring out how to be me in that frenzy of activity with all those people around everywhere. But the Lord provided a few friends who prayed for me and helped me acclimate quickly.
Being an introvert, I made sure to find time each day to walk by myself and be alone with God or sit with my writing, as I often do, to hear what He might have to say to me. It seemed that no matter where I went on campus, God’s Spirit was so present, He was almost tangible and His peace, at times, was intoxicating.
Now comes the hard part – God let me know in no uncertain terms how shallow my prayer life had become and then gave me a glimpse of how full and rich He intends it to be. He allowed me the privilege of praying one-on-one with a few special people at conference and God moved in me and I believe in them to bring them healing from old wounds and courage to face their future. There is nothing as exhilarating as when the Spirit leads me to share my heart with another, to lift up a brother or sister in prayer – to help them bring their burden to our Father in heaven. When the words that He gives me to speak releases their pain, their concerns, and their needs, and then I see His peace filling them – there are no words to express that kind of joy. I know now that God is calling me into prayer ministry – whatever that means – I don’t know yet.
I won’t be idle while I wait for the Lord to make it clear. Already, I’ve joined a Sunday morning prayer group at church, and along with many others I’ve made a commitment to 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim world during this month of Ramadan. I’m reading and learning about spiritual warfare and intercessory and healing prayer and memorizing scripture. Most importantly, I am turning off the TV and radio more often, putting away worldly distractions, and I’m praying and I’m listening. These are my intentions and I pray the Lord blesses me with success as I face the uphill battle against my old “lazy” habits which are impossible for me to break by my own will and power.
Now if you’ll excuse me – It’s time for God and me to have a conversation.
About the pictures: